Merkel appeals to business leaders in job hunt for Germany's migrants

Chancellor Angela Merkel has invited the leaders of Germany's biggest companies, including Siemens and Volkswagen, to discuss ways to integrate migrants into the world of work, popular German tabloid Bild reported Saturday.

In a meeting at her chancellery scheduled for September 14, Merkel wants to convince top chief-executives to create more apprenticeships and job opportunities for asylum seekers, according to the report.

Taking part in the so-called "Us together" initiative are, among others, electronics manufacturer Siemens; carmakers Volkswagen, Daimler and Opel; fashion designer Hugo Boss; and Deutsche Bank.

While anti-immigrant sentiment has risen off the back of fears that the new arrivals are stretching resources and overwhelming the job market, the companies "see the long-term potential that migration opens up in Germany," according to a statement on the "Us together" website.

The participants "want to play a positive role in societal change and contribute to a climate in Germany of openness and mutual understanding," it added.

Projects already underway include mentor programmes, digital startup support and language courses.

The chancellor has been under pressure to alleviate the financial and administrative burden on local authorities after more than 1 million refugees and migrants entered the country since the start of 2015 under her open-door refugee policy.

In July, her government passed a package of integration measures to get migrants learning German and open up avenues into the workplace for them.

Last update: Sat, 13/08/2016 - 14:40

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